Home >

April 19, 2012
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351
Page 1 of 1

(MONTGOMERY) – Just before her trial was set to begin this week, the former worthless check
coordinator for the Escambia County District Attorney’s Office pleaded guilty to a felony ethics charge
and second-degree forgery. A probation and sentencing hearing for Monica Lynn Watson is scheduled
for May 8. Attorney General Luther Strange today announced developments in the case, which was
prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division.
Trial was set to begin on Monday, April 16, but beforehand Watson pleaded guilty to the
intentional misuse of her public position for illegal personal gain through the mishandling of funds in
the worthless check unit, and to second-degree forgery of a motion that purported to be signed by the
District Attorney for the dismissal of a case against a defendant.
“This case involves extensive documentation from the Examiners of Public Accounts of misuse
of funds totaling $10, 259,” said Attorney General Strange. “It is important that this defendant has been
held to account and will be punished for her crimes to betray the public trust and abuse government
Charges against Watson arose from information in an audit of the Escambia County District
Attorney’s Office conducted in 2008 by the Examiners of Public Accounts, covering the period of
September 1, 2006, to May 31, 2008. Discrepancies in funds of the Worthless Check Unit (WCU) led to
further inquiries, which uncovered money orders that had been received by the District Attorney’s
Office but not receipted in the WCU. It was discovered that two money orders had been deposited into
Watson’s credit union account. Furthermore, there was no record in WCU records for certain people
who had paid cash to and had handwritten receipts from Watson, but the receipts were logged in
under someone else’s name. The Examiners’ audit also cites Watson for filing motions to dismiss cases
saying that those defendants had paid all money they owed when they had not, and that the motions
were stamped with the District Attorney’s name. According to the audit, $10, 259 was stolen from the
WCU, which Watson initially refused but later repaid.
Watson entered a “blind” plea on Monday, which means there is no agreement for prosecutors
to recommend a particular sentence or for any reduced penalty. She faces a potential penalty of two to
20 years imprisonment for the ethics violation, which is a class B felony, and one to 10 years for second-
degree forgery, a class C felony.
Attorney General Strange commended those who handled this case, noting in particular
Assistant Attorneys General Bill Lisenby and Stephanie Billingslea and Paralegal Lori Arnold of his
Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division, and Special Agents of the Attorney General’s
Investigations Division. He thanked the Examiners of Public Accounts and the Escambia County
District Attorney’s Office for valuable assistance.
501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300